MALARIA >  Information for Healthcare Professionals > Basic Points & History
Basic Points & History
Malaria is a parasitic disease that is caused by Plasmodium and transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes.
It is a curable disease if diagnosed early but it can cause serious complications and even death.
Even though it was hastily considered as a disease of the past, it threats even developed countries worldwide due to increasing population movement.

Malaria is an ancient disease for which there have been reports since 2000 B.C. There have been reports in China since 2.700 B.C., while Hippocrates described the symptoms in 5th century B.C. 
Basically, this disease was developed in parallel with human evolution. Four to five thousands year ago, Anopheles mosquitoes in Africa developed anthropophilic behavior. Modern molecular techniques proved that, via mosquito bites, the malaria parasites transmitted the disease from apes to humans.

The most important discoveries and inventions of modern science concerning malaria are the following:

1820 - Pierre- Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaimé Caventou, French chemists, isolate the alkaloid quinine from the bark of Cinchona 
1880 - Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, a French military surgeon, observes for the first time the parasites in the blood of a malaria sick person 
1886 - Camillo Golgi, an Italian neurophysiologist, describes the tertian and quartan fever and discovers the merozoites 
1890 - Giovani Batista Grassi and Raimond Filetti, Italian investigators, introduce the names Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium malariae for two of the responsible for human disease parasites 
1897 - William H. Welch, an American doctor, names the responsible for malignant tertian fever parasite Plasmodium falciparum 
Ronald Ross, a British officer, discovers that mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of the disease (first hypothesis, Scotish Patrick Manson, 1894) and describes the mosquito life- cycle 
1898 - Giovani Batista Grassi, Amico Bignami and Giuseppe Bastianelli, Italian investigators, describe the parasite life- cycle stage that takes place in Anopheles mosquito, known as sporogony 
1902 - W. Welch takes the Nobel Price
1906 - Camillo Golgi takes the Nobel Price
1907 - Laveran takes the Nobel Price 
1922 - John William Watson Stephens, doctor, describes the fourth malaria parasite that infects humans, Plasmodium ovale 
1924 - Primaquine is developed by Schulemann and his colleagues in Germany 
1931 - Robert Knowles and Biraj Mohan Das Gupta, two doctors, describe for the first time Plasmodium knowlesi in a Macaque ape 
1934 - Hans Andersag invents chloroquine 
1939 - Paul Hermann Muller constructs DDT, the first insecticide 
1948 - Cyril Garnham and Henry Shortt, British scientists, discover the exo- erythrocytic stage of parasite life- cycle that takes place in the liver
1965 - The first case on P. knowlesi in human is reported 
1971 - Chinese scientists isolate artemisinin of Qinghao plant (Artemisia annua)
1980 - The first appearance of chloroquine resistance in east Africa is reported 
1982 - An American team of investigators with Wojciech Krotoski as head discovers hypnozoites (parasite stages that stay dormant in the liver - concerning plasmodia vivax and ovale) 
1991 - Artemisinin and its derivatives are being established as antimalarials


[1] American Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov
[2] David Warrell, Herbert Gilles, 2002, Essential Malariology 4th edition, Boston: Oxford University Press.
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